The new IDTechEx report, Electric Boats, Small Submarines and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) 2014-2024 reveals the market for electric water craft, including those on and under water, will increase from $2.6 billion to $7.3 billion in 2024. In addition there is a market for electric outboard motors that will more than triple in value as high power pure electric versions become increasingly viable. There is also a new market for water borne electric aircraft.
Although about 60% of manufacturers of electric craft concentrate on underwater vehicles, most make very small numbers. We believe that about 50% of the expenditure on electric water craft concerns underwater versions and 50% concerns on-water versions. Military expenditure on electric water craft is mainly directed at underwater craft whereas civil expenditure is mostly directed at electric surface craft.
The largest sector in the marine electric vehicle business, inland and seagoing, hybrid and pure electric, is the industrial & commercial sector. The leisure sector is also progressing steadily, with two new announcements in 2014. One concerns a fast, small, electric boat for water skiing and other sports, the other concerns a larger motor yacht for the open sea, a hybrid powertrain being necessary for longer range and coping with tougher sea conditions. It follows the bankruptcy and resurgence of US lithium-ion battery maker Valence Technology after it had helped Beneteau to make hybrid motor and sailing yachts for the open sea that harvest from the water when sailing and from tides when moored, in both cases by the propeller going backwards.
Further green laws being introduced will help most marine sectors to grow. For example, pure electric craft benefit from laws that increasingly ban polluting alternatives on inland waterways. Plug in hybrids will be favoured for the larger seagoing boats to save cost and improve reliability over ones with conventional engines. Many new forms of expensive underwater craft will appear. The seagoing vehicle market will be increased particularly by military build-up and a trend to understand the influence of the oceans on weather and to harvest the oceans, including minerals and livestock.
Advances in the components in these vehicles and their infrastructure are proceeding disruptively rather than incrementally and the report discusses this.
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